Friday, August 6, 2010

K2 2010 Update: In C3 and headed back to BC

From Stu in the USA office
July 7, 2010 5:30 am local K2 time

At this time

I have been on the phone a number of times with Fabrizio and he spent the night safe and sound in “upper” C3 along with Kinga, Darek and Tamara. After departing C4 yesterday morning they had decided to hold at C3 as the rock fall was too significant to make a safe descent to C2 or BC during the daylight hours. A number of other climbers were in “lower” c3 and in C2 and all with plans to descend to BC today.

Fabrizio said that the tents in C3 had been destroyed and were pockmarked from the shrapnel pocked from all rocks. He said the situation remained scary due to the rockfall and that they continued to have to wear helmets while sleeping. Fabrizio noted that they were not so much looking “out” of their tents at the view so much as looking “through” their tents such was the damage to the fabric.

The plan was to leave early in the morning (3 am or so) when the mountain was colder, the rock fall at a minimum, and descend as rapidly as possible to base camp at that time. Unfortunately when they awoke the winds and snow caused them to delay leaving by a few hours. When we spoke at 5:30am local time the were readying to depart shortly.

They still have a significant descent ahead of them and we will be closely monitoring their movement until they are safely down to their tents in BC.

Events on the summit bid

After calling off his own summit bid along with a number of other climbers Fabrizio called into the FTA office to let us know his decision. He informed us at that time (approximately 6:30am local time) that Gerlinde and Fredrik were still going up but that Trey was back already. We agreed to wait a 5-6 hours to see if the weather conditions improved and it might be worth trying again tonight. About 3 hours later Fabrizio called back to let us know he was back in camp after having gone out with Darek to assist Gerlinde back from the shoulder. Apparently the conditions were very difficult with low visibility and continued winds.

At this time he let us know that there had been an accident in the Bottleneck and that Fredrik had fallen to his death. Sitting in C4 they were all devastated and coming to grips with his loss. They were also trying to make sure their heads were clear about the hard work still ahead to climb safely down from near 8000m on K2. Fabrizio said there was no question but that everyone would be heading down to lower camps at that time and they were all making preparations to descend.

The rock fall had been very bad the previous day during Ralf’s descent in the afternoon. For this reason Fabrizio was convinced to only go as far as C3, to be out of the winds, but to do the rest of the descent after some cold hours glued the mountain back together. Some climbers descended to C3 also and others further down. On the 7th they will make the final push back to BC.

This has been a very sad time for everyone climbing on K2 as Fredrik was seems to have touched and inspired everyone he came into contact with. Our team came to know him quite well and we send our condolences to his family and friends.

You can read more reports about the events on the following websites:

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